Wired News: Digital Music Biz Ain’t Booming

Wired News: Digital Music Biz Ain’t Booming

I’m what I call business-model sensitive. That is, if the way something is marketed or priced doesn’t appeal, I don’t buy it — unless I desperately want it. I prefer the price of a product to bear some relation both to the cost of producing it and its value to me.

It’s this same business-model sensitivity that causes me to forgo cable television. Why should I pay for unlimited access when I don’t watch more than an hour a day? It seems akin to paying for the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet when I just want coffee.

Some would call such behavior cheap. I take great offense at such character assassination, although it may be true.

Either way, for someone who is business-model sensitive (or cheap, if you must), the digital music industry doesn’t add up.

Here you have a product — recorded music — that costs very little to produce. Sure, you can spend a fortune on sound studios and videos. But even an amateurish recording of a live performance sounds OK. Nearly everyone knows some struggling band that has put out a decent-sounding release on a shoestring.

Once a recording exists, reproducing it costs next to nothing. Because most of us pay a flat monthly fee for internet access, there’s no extra cost to send or receive a music file. CDs are also cheap. A pack of blank ones sells for a few dollars.

Do people really think like this? If she is representative if the general public, it is no wonder that we have trouble getting people to buy music of any lasting interest. Maybe our education efforts should focus on helping people develop a perceived value for art, and maybe our artistic efforts should focus on non-disposable art.

2 thoughts on “Wired News: Digital Music Biz Ain’t Booming

  1. I went to 2 great concerts this week. The Maria Schneider Orchestra and the Mingus Big Band. The Schneider concert set me back $39 + $4 in service charges. The Mingus show cost $12 + a $6 drink. I certainly felt like I got my money’s worth.

    The above article may be representative of the general public, especially my generation and younger (teens and 20’s) who have grown up post-Napster.

    Maria Schneider has gone the artist share route. Value added. The music itself is just a commodity at this point. You have to add all kinds of extras. You can order wine to come with your music for the total experience.

    It’s so great to go to a show and feel really moved by the experience, isn’t it?

  2. It seems like live might be the only place for musical artists to make any money. Live is definitely better than memorex, or 1’s and 0’s as it is these days, but unless you live in NY, Chicago, or SF the chances of catching 2 shows of that level in one week are pretty slim. I would guess they are pretty slim many weeks in SF too. So recordings are going to be part of our musical lives, we just have to figure out how to finance them now.

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